Orion Consulting Limited

Marston’s PLC is the UK's leading independent brewing and pub retailing business. It operates over 1,700 pubs in the UK and is the world's largest brewer of cask ale. Marston's PLC owns six breweries throughout the UK and brews some of the UK's leading ale brands including Marston's Pedigree, Jennings, Banks's Bitter, Banks's Original, Mansfield Bitter, Brakspear and Wychwood.

Marston’s have worked with Orion Consulting for several years now, having migrated to Orion's PathFinder solution in 2006. This PathFinder solution now handles both traditional EDI requirements and other managed file transfers.

An early requirement from one of Marston's customers was to exchange EDI data via AS/2. Unlike the existing method of transferring batched data via a VAN, AS/2 offers a real-time exchange of data in both directions. However, it normally requires a server to be able both create and receive connections to and from other servers.

Rather than allow direct connections through to an internal network, a company will often receive the incoming AS/2 connections in a network area frequently known as a DMZ ('Demilitarised Zone'). This is an area that, although part of a company's infrastructure, does not directly exist on their network but is connected to it via a firewall. This means that external systems cannot directly connect to a machine on the company's LAN.

However, rather than installing a complete DMZ infrastructure for just one customer, they instead opted to use the Orion EDI Bureau service to receive the files on their behalf.


 

Effectively, the bureau acts as a DMZ for Marston’s, allowing the sending and receiving of files to AS/2 trading partners on their behalf. The PathFinder installation at Marston’s makes outgoing connections to the bureau periodically to send and pick up data. This solution means that no calls need to be made into the Marston’s infrastructure from the Internet, without requiring significant infrastructure changes.

The system now supports managed file transfer to and from multiple trading partners.

Customer Comments

"Using Orion Consulting's flexible approach enables Marston's to respond to trading partner requests in a way that often exceeds their expectations. Orion work closely with us during the development and test phases of our projects and post-implementation, we receive excellent support from Orion.

I would recommend Orion Consulting to other organisations without reservation and regard them very much as part of the extended Marston's team."

Phil Court, Head of Information Systems, Marston’s PLC:

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"Orion was chosen as the EDI system supplier for these projects as Pathfinder provides all the connectivity required to communicate with our suppliers and customers with all the required EDI formats - out of the box. Orion have also listened to us and incorporated our requirements into subsequent releases of the PathFinder product. The Orion team at all stages of the decision making, development and deployment of the PathFinder product instilled us with the necessary confidence that they knew their subject matter and were able to help guide and advise us to make the correct strategic decisions."
Darren Yull, Director – Integration and Web Services, Exertis UK & Ireland